Relationship expert Kathleen Callewaert confirms: ‘Singles are getting harder in this lockdown’
Everyone is struggling in times of Coronavirus pandemic. But the lockdown weighs extra heavily for singles. Kathleen Callewaert notices it every day in her practice: ‘Singles feel more lonely than ever before. They feel let down.’ The stories she hears are often harrowing.
‘Just yesterday a woman wrote to me that she feels she is a bit forgotten as a single. I can’t blame her. Alone is just alone. It is harrowing to hear and feel the pain, the sadness and the loneliness’, according to relationship expert Kathleen Callewaert, business manager of relationship firm Soulmate, who does matching, personal and business coaching, relationship mediation for couples.
Co-parenting during lockdown
Callewaert experiences daily that singles are getting more and more difficult with the loneliness that is the result of the lockdown, which is already entering its fifth week. “Eveline told me how sad she felt the past weekend. Her daughter went to daddy for co-parenting. The neighbors had apparently agreed to barbecue all together in their garden, together with their family. I just sat there eating my croque-monsieur, while I heard the neighbors chatting and the smell of the barbecue. Fear strikes me when I think I won’t see my daughter again when she shows signs of Coronavirus and she has to stay with Daddy. I just bought a house, I am currently technically unemployed and I don’t know if I will be able to buy food at the end of the month.”
Living on 30 square meters
A cool young guy told Kathleen Callewaert that he spent a month at home in a small apartment without a terrace because he is currently building. “The walls are coming at me and my mother begged to visit the weekend anyway in the garden with the necessary distance. I rode there by bicycle and complied with all regulations. I sat in the garden with my parents for half an hour when the bell rang. The police were at the door because the neighbor had clicked. Fortunately, I received a warning and no fine. The disappointment was very great with both my parents and myself. All the time I have followed the rules for Covid 19 closely. Do people realize what it is like to no longer see people and live on 30m²? ‘
“I feel I’m getting depressed”
A businesswoman and widow contacted Kathleen Callewaert crying like a child. She was obliged to close her case. She lives in the countryside, has no children and knows no time to stay. “I am used to being surrounded by my staff, customers, suppliers,” she told Callewaert. “In normal circumstances I am often happy to go home to be alone, but now I am languishing here in my house where I have always loved to live, quietly with a beautiful view. Fear strikes my heart: what about my case, no partner who can advise or assist me, no comforting word, no shoulder to cry on. I feel that I am in danger of becoming depressed. I don’t know what to do.”
“If you deny or fight reality, it increases stress, frustration and self-criticism.”
Self-kindness and compassion
Kathleen Callewaert’s advice is clear: we can only persevere. And don’t forget that it’s okay to let your feelings in. Look at it, go through those feelings. They are like waves, they come and they go. It’s a process we have to go through, go through it and let them go.
“Self-kindness and self-compassion are recommended in these times,” says Kathleen Callewaert. “Be kind, gentle, and understanding to yourself when you are suffering or feeling short. Do not ignore your feelings. If you deny or fight reality, it increases stress, frustration and self-criticism. If you accept reality with kindness, you will experience more emotional balance.”
“We don’t always have to have everything in order. Sometimes we just have to feel what is really there. Dare to be vulnerable to yourself and the people around you. This is real life, where there is real connection with yourself and the other. Do try to learn for yourself from this crisis, deal with yourself consciously, immerse yourself in this matter and grow as a person. You will be amazed how enriching that feels.”